The Black Budget

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 2.50.28 PMThe Washington Post just published an excellent package on the FY2013 Black Budget for intelligence. I’m reading through the summary now.

I’ll put working comments below. But one of my first impressions is that all of this is useful information, and in some ways really encouraging information (in others, horrifying).

For that reason, this is one of my favorite parts of the story itself:

Lee Hamilton, an Indiana Democrat who was a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and co-chairman of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, said that access to budget figures has the potential to enable an informed public debate on intelligence spending for the first time, much as Snowden’s disclosures of NSA surveillance programs brought attention to operations that had assembled data on nearly every U.S. citizen.

“Much of the work that the intelligence community does has a profound impact on the life of ordinary Americans, and they ought not to be excluded from the process,” he said.

“Nobody is arguing that we should be so transparent as to create dangers for the country,” he said. But, he said, “there is a mindset in the national security community — leave it to us, we can handle it, the American people have to trust us. They carry it to quite an extraordinary length so that they have resisted over a period of decades transparency. . . . The burden of persuasion as to keeping something secret should be on the intelligence community, the burden should not be on the American public.”

Hamilton is absolutely right. There’s no reason why information at this level of detail shouldn’t be shared with American taxpayers ponying up the $52.6 billion to pay for it all.


Working comments on Budget Justifications

4: The IC is apparently going to start researching trade disputes. I assume that’ll be primarily targeted at China. But it’s an interesting development.

 

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emptywheel Somehow info-sharing didn't manage to prevent the hack of FBI and DHS info. https://t.co/bD0A0WiIQh
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emptywheel @sethwulsin God, that most unforgiving of Emergency Managers.
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emptywheel More important to MI GOP than fixing Flint's lead pipes: banning anal sex. https://t.co/ybIvpLyPUE
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emptywheel RT @iduncan: By combining attack and defense, a reorganization at the NSA will mark a major change in how it does its job https://t.co/RT3h
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emptywheel RT @dandrezner: Nothing Cam Newton did last night deserves the opprobrium that should be rightfully directed at Aqib Talib. https://t.co/3D
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emptywheel @caulkthewagon Clintons are entitled to NH's vote after all.
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bmaz Also a very common thing https://t.co/77RYGCMwqP
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emptywheel @jsd_west Petraeus knows where more Obama secrets are buried than Hillary.
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emptywheel @jsd_west Never heard anything more ridiculous. You know Petraeus did info-finding trip between FBI interview & resignation?
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emptywheel @josephfcox When I read about it I wondered whether gangs and mafia have already exploited it.
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emptywheel RT @josephfcox: If hacker behind the DHS/FBI accurately described how he got the data, the DoJ has a serious, almost embarrassing, lack of …
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emptywheel RT @froomkin: EXCLUSIVE: Top Hillary Clinton advisors & fundraisers lobbied against Obamacare https://t.co/F93gwzglKu by @lhfang https://t…
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